Snowstorm creates multiple hurdles for Delaware

The combination of bus delays and emergency roadway conditions are slowing down Delawareans Friday morning where six inches of snow coated much of the sidewalks and streets.

Delaware’s first snow of 2014 also shut down schools and businesses and kept the Delaware Department of Transportation busy throughout the night.

According to DelDOT, more than 400 employees worked over night to plow and salt the roads for the morning commute and will continue clearing snow throughout the day.

While the snowfall has stopped, freezing temperatures and wind gusts remain. Gov. Jack Markell urged Delawareans to evaluate their traveling needs and use caution if you must go out.

“We strongly encourage drivers who do not need to travel to delay or refrain from going on the roads to give DelDOT plows time and ability to work,” said Markell. “If you don’t need to be driving, stay home until roads are cleared.”

State offices are closed today as well as New Castle County offices and the City of Wilmington offices.

If you do have to drive today, the Delaware State Police Department is asking motorists to spend a few extra minutes to properly remove snow and ice from vehicles as it could become deadly projectile and a driving hazard.

Anyone driving through New Castle County in morning could see how road conditions could change just by traveling on a roadway that was next to open field.  Snow would quickly cover road surfaces causing drifts of several inches. A few feet later a road surface would be clear.  

Private snow blows worked through many unincorporated neighborhoods trying to keep up with the drifts in the hopes winds would die down before the deep freeze set for tonight.

According to AAA, emergency roadside service calls are expected to pick up as people head to work or to other destinations. Officials say extreme cold temperatures this weekend could cause a spike in car battery problems. In fact, a car battery can lose up to 60 percent of its strength when the temperature is at zero degrees and since the temperature is expected to drop into single-digits this weekend, AAA is urging motorists to take a few minutes to check their car batteries.

At least 30 emergency roadside service calls have been placed, while the volume is much higher in New Jersey and Philadelphia where at least 200 calls were reported.

DART’s bus services, both fixed route and paratransit are operating except for Route 8 in Wilmington. Transportation officials say Route 117 in Dover is operating but bypassing Mifflin Meadows and PolyTech High School.

SEPTA is experiencing delays as well. The Wilmington/Newark Line is operating on a 30 minute delay.

For more transportation information, you can visit www.DartFirstState.com for up-to-date information.

Additionally, you should call ahead to your destination to make sure it is open.

For a group of University of Delaware students their study abroad winter term will be delayed for another day.  Students boarded a British Airways flight to London only to find the 6:25 was not able to take off.  The students sat on the runway for close to 6 hours before the flight was cancelled.  Students were sent to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia for the night with the hope that things will be better for their re-booked flight tonight.

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